Kenya was intended to be a transit country for us. We were to head to Nairobi, pick up our Ethiopian visas and drive straight up to the border after a couple of days with a group of people we'd met in Tanzania. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans!!
We successfully met up with the Tour d'Afrique support crew and our Turkish friend Oz in Nairobi and went with Oz the very next day to the Ethiopian embassy to get our visas. It was at this point that our plans started to unravel.
The Ethiopians have a very unusual set of consular rules for issuing visas whereby you can fly into Addis and get a visa on arrival, you can get a visa in your home country before you travel, you can get a visa from an Ethiopian embassy if you are a foreign national arriving from any country north of Ethiopia. However, if like us, you are travelling from the south they will only issue visas to residents of the country in which the embassy is based. Bizarre, but that is the way it is and nothing you say can convince them of the stupidity of their rules!! The only option we were left with was to courier our passports home, get the visa issued in London and have them couriered back. Given the time, cost, and risk of this exercise we decided to spend more time in Kenya and Uganda and give Ethiopia a miss. A shame, but it gives an excuse to come back again :-)
From Nairobi we decided to head west and take our time travelling across the Rift valley to Uganda. Our first stop was lake Navaisha where we explored the local area over a couple of days. We managed to talk our way into the staff canteen at one of the local flower farms where we enjoyed a cup of tea, doughnuts and a chat with the lovely people who worked there.
The next day we crossed the equator and celebrated by wild camping just outside a little village well off the beaten track. Despite thinking we were on a very remote road we attracted quite a lot of attention from the locals who were all very curious but didn't mind us staying there.
The next stop was the nature reserve of Lake Bogoria where we enjoyed the company of a troop of baboons at our campsite and the thousands of flamingo on the lake. Luckily the resident lion chose not to pay us a visit!
With another lake and a couple of other stops in between we came to the town of Eldorette and the fabulous Naiberi River Camp where we would spend Christmas. Raj who runs the camp and his girlfriend Margaret very kindly invited us to their house for lunch on Christmas day and although the menu was a little unconventional we had a fabulous time.
After a couple more days at Naiberi to recover from our Christmas excesses we headed off to Uganda through a small and little used border crossing at the foot of Mount Elgon.